Posted On: January 13, 2020
Congenital heart disease is one of several deformities in the heart, which in most cases, people are born with. It is a broad term used for a range of deficiencies that occur during birth which typically affect the functions of the heart. It is a condition that is present right from birth.
Such defects that are mostly common in little children can affect the proper circulation of blood through the heart. Heart disease can be simple, with little or no problems. It can also be more complicated defects e.g. a hole in the heart, which could cause serious threats to life.
For most pregnant women, doctors can detect the problem during pregnancy through an ultrasound scan, while in many cases; the defects could go unnoticed until after birth. Unfortunately, large number of babies born with a defect in the heart did not live to see their first birthday.
Advanced techniques in diagnosis and latest treatment sophistication have resulted in many babies born with congenital heart disease surviving into adulthood. Although, the condition may resurface later in life, even with those who had received treatment during childhood.
If you have congenital heart defect, you might continue to need medical attention for the rest of your life. If you are having bothersome symptoms of congenital heart disease such as chest pain or shortness of breath, you need to seek immediate medical care.
There are numerous types of congenital heart disease and more than one type can occur together at a time. Some common types of defects may include:
In most cases, it is difficult to identify why certain things go wrong at the early stage of a fetus’ development. Some heart conditions have been blamed on defective genes or chromosomes.
If a family has history of congenital heart disease, a mother having poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy, or a pregnant woman is taking certain medications e.g. anticoagulants or some acne medicines, a newborn may be at a higher risk of developing congenital heart disease.
Other causes may include a pregnant mother having certain types of infection, such as rubella. Down’s syndrome is another genetic condition that affects a baby’s normal somatic development.
Heart disease in children had also been linked with the mother drinking alcohol or smoking during pregnancy.
Some cases of congenital heart disease are detected during pregnancy and before birth via an ultrasound scan. However, it is not always possible to detect all such defects in this way. Some defects may not be revealed until the child is older or even an adult.
Congenital heart disease in children can have varied symptoms because every child has different physical conditions and medical needs. Most common types of symptoms include:
You may need a specialist’s attention if symptoms of congenital heart disease are suspected at your 20-week pregnancy ultrasound scan. If a congenital heart defect is confirmed, a detailed information would normally be provided with approaches to treatment and long-term effects. The good news is that, some heart defects can be detected and treated in the womb before the birth.
A specialist would typically monitor the conditions of the mother before, during and after the birth. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, you should seek medical attention.
Existing or apparent medical conditions and the nature of the heart disease in both adult and children will ultimately determine the type of treatment the doctors will provide. The severity of the heart condition will also define the treatment. Mild form of congenital heart disease diagnosed in babies does not usually need any treatment. Minor problems such as holes in the heart may improve over time without treatment and children can cope very well without any further health risk because of the heart condition.
In some more serious cases of heart diseases, medication or heart surgery may be required. Some form of interventional procedures may be required for significant heart defects which in most cases give rise to other health problems. Contemporary surgical procedures can often fix most or all the heart’s routine function.
Though, patients with congenital heart disease may require regular treatment for their entire life and therefore need medical expert assessment during childhood and later life. This is more important for people with severe heart problems because epileptic heartbeat or valves can cause further problems over time.
Heart surgeries and interventional procedures do not always provide permanent cure to heart diseases. The affected people may have limited ability in performing exercises or any other rigorous activities. It is therefore essential that they regularly consult with their medical practitioner and take caution in protecting themselves from getting heart infections.
Your heart is separated into 4 major segments known as chambers. The heart uses the right and the left chambers differently to
pump blood through the body. These chambers are called:
There are four valves which regulate the flow of blood through the heart and the entire body. These are called the:
If any of these heart sections or valves does not develop properly while a baby is forming in the womb, the situation could lead to a congenital heart disease.
Some severe complications might develop later in life even after the initial treatment of congenital heart disease. These complications may include:
For people with an imitation heart valve, or those whose heart had been restored with prosthetic substance, or the heart defect was not completely treated, antibiotics might be prescribed for a long time to reduce the risk of having endocarditis.
Congenital heart disease comes in different types with a wide range or combination of symptoms that may suggest you or your child is affected. Treatment for this defect is determined by the medical condition and some other factors about the affected person. The disease can resurface later in life even after being treated as a child and it can lead to other complications if medical attention is not sought immediately.
As far as your health is concerned, your doctor is your best friend and never hesitate to speak out if you notice anything unusual or having any of the symptoms of congenital heart disease.